TOURISM: Darjeeling hills find depth for tourists’ descent

TOURISM: Darjeeling hills find depth for tourists’ descent – adventure tourism at its best ?!!

Higher aim: HMI principal Rana glides from 18,700 feet on Mt Makalu - the world at your feet, soaring like an eagle ?!! (TT)


Darjeeling, Oct. 4: Days are not far when tourists can glide with the floating cotton clouds across the rolling hills of Darjeeling.

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) and the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) have recently inked a memorandum of understanding to introduce paragliding for tourists in the hills.

“The initiative is expected to be the first of its kind in this part of the region and we expect to start flying from March onwards,” Col Neeraj Rana, the principal of the HMI, told The Telegraph.

In fact, Rana himself is the first man to paraglide on Mt Makalu from an altitude of 18,700 feet to 16,076 feet.

Tourists need not be so adventurous and take risk as Rana did.

“We have selected a spot at Rohini in Kurseong subdivision. We will first take six boys from the village and will train them for a year and half before certifying them as trained paragliders. The WBTDC will develop infrastructure at the spot,” said Rana.

In the Rohini area, the highest point is around 4,000 feet and there are enough open spaces to descend as low as 2,000 feet. “The place is ideal for paragliding. The valley-like area is surrounded by hillocks and the scenery is picturesque as fliers can also see the plains,” said Rana.

Even though the six boys are expected to complete their training in 18 months, tourists need not wait for so long.

“The HMI will be bringing in authorised instructors from various parts of the country. While one set will be training the locals, the others will be flying tourists across the hills,” said Rana. “Provisions will be made to accommodate one tourist on a glider. The instructors will take them around.”


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